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8 great scenic drives

By: Matt Hickman on May 3, 2011, 8:44 a.m.
tree lined road shot from inside car

Photo: eirik_johan/Flickr

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Road trip

Pack up the sunscreen and binoculars, prep the GPS system and get ready to experience some serious vistas, kids … we’re going on a good, old-fashioned road trip.

If you’re without summer travel plans and would rather not jet to a far-flung, all-inclusive resort, indulge in some All-American wanderlust instead on a days-long scenic drive along one of the country’s most jaw-dropping roadways. Following are eight of our favorite scenic drives, all recognized by the National Scenic Byways program as either official state/regional/national scenic byways or All-American Roads; some are even units of the National Park Service.

Ranging from 7 miles to over 400 miles, the natural landscapes along these routes are diverse as it gets, ranging from gator-filled bayous to red-hued sandstone monoliths to rocky, forest-lined coasts. In terms of scenery, outdoor recreation opportunities, historical sites and cultural flavor, these roads offer something for just about everyone. And besides, wouldn’t you rather send your pals a postcard from Concrete, Wash., or Meat Camp, N.C., instead of Cancun or Fort Lauderdale this summer? (Text: Matt Hickman)